Pye family tree

Thomas Pye and Margaret his wife, were the parents of a large family.  They lived at Alstone in the parish of Haughton, Staffordshire.

John Pye was their eldest son.  John and his wife Joane had seven children.  John and Joane died within a month of each other in 1570 and their names are the first records listed in the Haughton burial register.

Alexander Pye

Alexander was born during the reign of Henry VIII, however, Queen Elizabeth 1 was the ruling monarch throughout the majority of Alexander’s life.

Alexander and his wife Elizabeth had ten children, five of whom died in childhood.  Two of their surviving children married.  Anne Pye married Humphrey Cox and Thomas Pye married Elizabeth Russell.  Alexander Pye was a Yeoman and was a tenant farmer for Sir Ralph Bouchier, the lord of Haughton Manor.  Alexander farmed tenements at Brazenhill and other areas within the parish of Haughton.

Alexander was buried on the 4 April, 1595 and Elizabeth was buried on 23 March, 1613.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 25 May, 1578 Haughton-Buried 26 March, 1629 Haughton.

Thomas was Alexander and Elizabeth Pye’s eldest surviving son.  He married Elizabeth Russell on 24 April, 1608 at St Giles church, Haughton.  Thomas does not appear in any other records other than the parish registers.  Thomas and Elizabeth had two children:  Frances Pye who married Robert Cox and John Pye who married Anne.

John Pye

Baptised 8 July, 1611 at Haughton.

John Pye and his wife Anne had eight children all born in Haughton during the time of England’s Civil War between the Royalists for King Charles 1 and the Roundheads under Oliver Cromwell.

Yeoman John Pye appears to have been quite a successful tenant farmer.  His cottage contained a parlour, kitchen and buttery, all with bedroom chambers above, one boasted a featherbed.  John owned a dozen or so cattle, 3 mares and a foal, 3 swine and 17 sheep.  He grew corn and hay and had an orchard and garden.  There was also a weaver’s loom and two spinning wheels in the home which the women in the family used.

When John Pye died he bequeathed money to the parish “to be used to buy shoes for the poorest widows and fatherless children”.  Along with the bequests of his two eldest sons, John Jnr and Robert, the Charity that was formed has continued in perpetuity and from 1942 seventeen amalgamated Charities have formed the Abbots Bromley United Charities which continues to support Youth groups and purchase equipment for the handicapped.

John Pye died in the parish of Abbots Bromley after the majority of his children moved to that parish.  He was buried on 6 September, 1681.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 26 April, 1646 Haughton – Buried 21 March, 1728 Uttoxeter.

Thomas Pye was the third son of John and Anne Pye.  Thomas began his working life as a Tailor but was later termed a Yeoman.  Thomas married his first wife, Anne Walkelate on 2 February, 1670 in St Nicholas church, Abbots Bromley.  They had four children before Anne’s early death.  Thomas married his second wife, Abigail Foster, on 24 September, 1682.  They had three children, two dying as infants.

Thomas farmed tenements named Hunter’s Croft, Little Heifield and Kue Hurst, that may have been a part of Lord William Bagot’s estate.  These plots of land formed part of the marriage settlement between Thomas and Abigail.  Thomas Pye was named as executor in a number of his relations’ Wills, however, it was his nephew, another Thomas Pye, the son of his elder brother Robert Pye, who inherited the family land and property.

Joseph Pye

Baptised 2 February, 1679 Abbots Bromley – Buried 4 January, 1758 Stockton.

Joseph Pye was the youngest child of Thomas Pye and his first wife, Anne.  Joseph’s elder brother died unmarried at 26 years of age and therefore I assume Joseph inherited his father’s lands in Abbots Bromley and was a yeoman tenant farmer.

Joseph married Catherine Reynolds on 24 February, 1703 and they had nine children, two dying as infants.  Five of Joseph and Catherine’s children married, three of whom had children.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 3 May, 1722 Abbots Bromley – Buried 18 January, 1793 Baswich.

Thomas Pye was the youngest child and only surviving son of Joseph and Catherine Pye.  It is not known what happened to cause the turn-a-round in the Pye’s fortunes but Thomas worked as an annual labourer, meaning he could only get manual and agricultural labouring contracts for a year at a time.

Thomas Pye was about 53 years of age when he married Margaret Lightfoot on 24 December, 1775 in Drayton-in-the-Hales in County Shropshire.  They had seven children and settled in Baswich near Stafford in Staffordshire.  Thomas’s financial circumstances did not improve and he died a Pauper in 1793, leaving behind his wife and five surviving children.  Their two daughters were made Parish apprentices.

Joseph Pye

Born about 1776 – Buried 17 June, 1830 Baswich.

Joseph was the eldest child of Thomas and Margaret Pye.  Joseph Pye married Mary Wetton in St Mary’s church, Stafford on 28 February, 1797.  They had eleven children with the eldest two born in Baswich and the other nine in Rickerscote in the nearby parish of Castle Church.

Rickerscote was a rural hamlet and Joseph spent his life as an agricultural labourer.  Joseph and Mary both died in their early fifties leaving their younger children to be raised by their elder children, George and Mary.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 9 July, 1797 Baswich – Died 5 September, 1880 at Kirkstall, Victoria.

Thomas Pye was the eldest child of Joseph and Mary Pye.  He began labouring at a brick yard as a child.  Thomas married Alice Hall on 3 May, 1819 and they had five children.  They moved to Birmingham in Warwickshire where Alice died.  Thomas worked in a brickyard making tiles and bricks.  By 1836 Thomas was charged with house breaking and transported to New South Wales for life.

Thomas Pye was assigned to Captain Sylvester John Brown and travelled with his master to the district of Port Philip Bay in 1838.  Thomas met his second wife, Mary Sampson, at the Brown’s dairy and they married on 16 October, 1843 at Melbourne.  The Pyes were employed by Brown’s son, Thomas Alexander Brown, and travelled with him to the district that was later known as Bessiebelle, where their first two children were born.  When Thomas received his Ticket-of-Leave the family moved to Port Fairy and a further five children were born to them.  Three of their daughters died young, the other remained single and the three sons married and produced large families.

Thomas Pye worked as a farmer and also grew wheat.  Mary Pye died at 62 years of age and Thomas Pye died at 83 years of age.

Joseph Pye

21 October, 1848 Port Fairy – 19 September, 1919 Died Port Fairy, Victoria

Joseph Pye was the youngest son of Thomas Pye and his second wife, Mary.  Joseph spent his youth in Port Fairy prior to the family moving to Tower Hill then onto the village of Kirkstall.  Joseph married Mary Ann Wiseman on 26 September, 1876 and their first four children were born in Kirkstall before Joseph obtained land at Bessiebelle where the next ten children were born.  Joseph spent the remainder of his life working on his farm.

Joseph was a dedicated farmer and served a term on the local shire council lobbying to improve the opportunities for the community of Bessiebelle.  He was well known as an excellent conversationalist who knew and related the history of the district.

Thomas James Pye

Born 11 July, 1877 Kirkstall, Victoria – Died 17 July, 1939 Warrnambool, Victoria

Thomas James Pye was the eldest of the fourteen children of Joseph and Mary Ann Pye.  Thomas met his wife, Mary Gavin, at her parent’s property, whilst he and his brothers were on their thrashing machine round.

Thomas and Mary settled in Russell’s Creek and had thirteen children.  Thomas worked at the Nestles Milk Factory.  Thomas and Mary were a great example to their children of loving, caring parents who had a deep religious faith.  Thomas kept in touch with his many siblings as much as he was able and at one time rode his bicycle all the way from Warrnambool to Bessiebelle to visit them.  Thomas died on 17 July, 1939 at 62 years of age.

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Tapestry of my Life

Tapestry of my life.

I have researched the tapestry of my family tree,

Discovering all its hues and colours.

The earthy tones of farmers, labourers and servants,

The muddy shades of the rogues and thieves.

The splash of patriotism when war loomed,

The humble and the great woven into our tree,

And found many friends amongst the shared blood of our ancestry.


I have explored the tapestry of my soul,

Following the many threads of my lives,

Accepting all the knots, snarls, tears and darns

Do not make the pattern less.

In seeing the whole of the tapestry of being

I found my true authentic self.


In the tapestry of my life

There was one bright stitch of colour.

At times it was overlooked in the allure of its surrounds.

And I thought I knew its texture

And I thought I had its measure

For if it had great value

Then I had to pay the price.

But in the light its weave was seen to entwine my story.

My teacher, my sister, my mother, my daughter, my friend, my pupil.

My twin – the fabric of gold in my life.


Soon I’ll be exploring the tapestry of the Universe.

Expanding beyond the stars; a kaleidoscope of mystery.

As I drift beneath the Milky Way

You’ll remain the centre of my world.

And no matter how far I wander out to the edges of the galaxy

I’ll always be here to wrap you in my velvet cloak of love.

In the decoupage of stitches when we meet again,

We’ll create another layer in our tapestry of love.


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The Green Petticoat

My ancestor Thomas Pye of Haughton married Elizabeth Russell in 1608.  When Elizabeth’s widowed sister, Mary Alsop died in 1634 she did not have much, but she bequeathed to her brother Thomas Russell, sister Jane, niece and nephew Frances and John Pye, one shilling each.  Another niece received all her chattells and cattells.
But to Elizabeth Pye Mary bequeathed one green petticoat.
I am sure there is some story behind the gift.  What is was can only be surmised.  Did Elizabeth admire the petticoat?  Was its value one shilling?  Whatever the circumstances I like to imagine Elizabeth wearing a bottle green petticoat, perhaps with a touch of hem showing beneath her outer skirt.

No plain linen petticoat for Elizabeth!

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Stepfathers – and how they can affect your research.

Stepfathers – and how they can affect your research.

I have discovered that where there is a blended family or an illegitimate child within a family; the fact that the individual I am researching has a stepfather can influence the recording of their surname in later documents.

I recently ordered a birth certificate for a child and found that the mother’s maiden name was recorded as “Sarah Hemmings” – I knew that her correct maiden surname was “Sarah Pye”.  Sarah’s stepfather was Thomas Hemmings.

Sarah was only 3 years of age when her natural father died and 7 years of age when her mother married Thomas Hemmings.  Sarah probably preferred the name of Hemmings rather than Pye.

Sarah was not the only one from my extended family tree to use her stepfather’s surname on her children’s birth certificates.  Emily Patience Pye (born Jones) (mentioned in a previous blog) used her stepfather’s surname of Cooper and Ellen Pye (born Lowe) used her stepfather’s surname of Mort.

I can imagine that if you are a direct descendant of these women and attempting to follow back through your ancestors how these incorrect details on birth certificates could lead to stumbling blocks and confusion in your research.

It is something that is well worth keeping in mind if you find that you are not able to trace a female ancestor’s parents.

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A Tribute.

Today is the second blog-anniversary of my Blog.

A tribute.

I have called to mind the number of monuments that I have contributed to in order to honour my ancestors.

There have been two immigration walls:  one at Harvey Bay, Qld (not that my ancestors had a connection to the area but because it was one of the first such monuments where people could nominate their first arrival ancestors) and the other at the Immigration Museum in Flinders Street, Melbourne.  The names of Thomas Pye and Thomas and Jane Sinnott are now commemorated here.

The other monuments all relate to Captain Charles Pye.  His grave headstone, a commemorative stone at Kirkstall, Victoria and a plaque on the servicemen and womens’ clock tower in Stafford, England.

The memorials in Victoria came about by the work of other relatives, namely Mick, Bill and Francis.  The one in England, by the Mayor of Stafford and Beryl from the Baswich History Society.  My contribution was the background research and information that helped these tributes to happen.

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The real ‘Joe Burge’ of Old Melbourne Memories

The real ‘Joe Burge’ of ‘Old Melbourne Memories’. ‘C’ was reading a centenary book in which was written the following, “at Squattlesea Mere, near Dunmore, Joe Burge, an Irish servant of squatter Thomas Browne, had built a sod hut ‘as he was accustomed to doing at home’.” Both ‘C’ and I knew that Thomas Browne did not have a servant named ‘Joe Burge’ and that the invented name was a pseudonym that Browne had used for his English, not Irish, servant in his book, ‘Old Melbourne memories.’ (OMM)  A book that was written by Browne 40 years after his residence at ‘Squattlesea Mere’ about his memories of his youth in the district.  It was a very romanticized version of squatting life written to appeal to his literary followers. Browne himself wrote (unpublished autobiography) “Joe Burge was born and brought up in the pottery district of Staffordshire.”  So why did the author of the book assume that ‘Joe Burge’ was an Irishman who was accustomed to building sod huts back home?  I can see that she wanted an analogy to support the context of the Irish Catholic community she was writing about and I suspect she used second-hand material as the quote she copied was not in OMM that she attributed it to.  Therefore, the assumption that Joe Burge was the servant’s real name and that he was Irish was someone else’s error. It appears that some authors and family historians are too quick to attribute certain characteristics, emotions and motives to our early ancestors that might be far from the truth. So who was the real ‘Joe Burge’?  Thomas Browne answers that question himself in a letter written to a friend in 1898, “my old servant – Thos Pye – who is mentioned in ‘Old Melbourne Memories’ as ‘Joe Burge’.” Thomas Pye was an Englishman – a brick and tile maker from Staffordshire and the West Midlands.  Where he learnt to build sod huts is unknown but Browne tells us he was very versatile and had “picked up a fair notion of the leading agricultural industry which he used to some purpose in the new country.”  Thomas Pye spent the first 40 years of his life in England and seven years in the colonies before he build the hut at Squattlesea Mere – plenty of life experience to learn such a skill.

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The Brandricks of Staffordshire

The Brandricks of Staffordshire

Frances Pye, a younger daughter of John and Anne Pye, was baptised on 1 January, 1648 in Haughton, Staffordshire.  She had four brothers and three sisters.  The Pye family moved from Haughton to Bromleyhurst in the parish of Abbots Bromley in the 1660s.  When her eldest brother died in 1680, she was bequeathed his cupboard and all his brass and pewter and from her father, who died in 1681, she was to receive £40 after the decease of her mother.  However, Frances’s mother was a long-lived woman and outlived all but two of her children – Frances was not one of them.

Being a younger daughter, Frances did not have a large dowry to attract an early marriage and it was not until she was thirty three years of age that she married Yeoman John Brandrith of Heatley on 15 October, 1682.

The marriage settlement between the couple and Frances’s brothers, Robert Pye and Thomas Pye (my direct ancestor) makes mention of the parcels of land that John Brandrith was to allocate to the support of Frances, including the messuages, cottage or tenement called the Long field, the little south meadow, land called the Cotsfield, Heatly Croft and other fields with their buildings, barns, stables, cowhouses, orchards, gardens and hempbutts.

Whether Frances had any miscarriages or not during the immediate years after her marriage is unknown but by 1686 she did give birth to her son.  I have read a novel in which a wife both looked forward to but also dreaded the impending birth of her child, due to the high mortality associated with giving birth.  Frances was one such tragedy and she died three weeks after delivering her son.  Frances was buried on 12 May, 1686.

The son, named John after his father, was then raised by his uncle, Robert Pye, for the next four years, until Robert’s death in 1690.  Robert’s last will and testament directs, “And further more I desire and my mind and will is that my Executors shall look after and have a care of John Brandreth my sister’s son.”  One of the executors was Thomas Pye.  Perhaps John was then raised by his uncle Thomas Pye.

John Brandrith married Jane Ashe on 26 August, 1709 in Abbots Bromley.  When John died in 1730 his Will stated that he was a blacksmith and had two children: Elizabeth and Richard.  The executors of the Will were Thomas Pye junior (the grandson of his uncle Robert Pye) and James Bennett (husband of his uncle Thomas Pye’s daughter, Dorothy).  John Brandrith’s assets were only valued at a little over £3.

Richard Brandrick (the spelling of the surname having now changed to Brandrick) married Sarah North and moved to Blithfield, Abbots Bromley and had nine children.  It is from this family that the Brandrick family tree began to sprout and grow and spread throughout Staffordshire.

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